RE: Complaints to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions regarding abusive behaviour of private contractors

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please could you provide a full and statistical break down of all the data that you currently hold on the complaints, grievances and allegations made by all claimants and members of the general public since the roll-out of the Welfare Reform Act (2012) specifically in respect of these complaints/grievances/allegations made by claimants because of the abusive behaviour and egregious treatment meted out to the claimants by the private companies and contractors providing DWP "services", e.g. the Work Programme and Mandatory Work Activity, etc .where it is publicly documented that companies like Maximus, A4e, etc. etc. were quite clearly intimidating claimants and abusing their brief, namely to deliver a publicly funded service for private profit.
For example, if it is of assistance to your researchers, please could you provide the information according to (1) private company/contractor/provider, (2) mandatory programme /activity, (3) category of benefit, e.g JSA/ESA, etc.
If some of this information is already available in the public domain, such as press releases/announcements/websites, etc then, in the interests of transparency and accountability, and in the public interest, would be so kind as to provide links and references to these sources, eg gov.uk website/parliamentary work and pensions committee reports on complaints about departmental services provided by private companies.

Yours faithfully,

declan.murray

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no-reply@dwp.ecase.co.uk on behalf of DWP Health Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear Declan Murray,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 15th
November.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear [email address] on behalf of DWP Health Services Correspondence,
Further to your reply, if it would help the DWP FOI team, please could you narrow the request to release the information that the department does actually hold in respect of the complaints that the DWP received over this period of time it was actively running these programmes, regardless of benefit category, provider contractor and/or programme/activity- in other words, what raw data do you actually hold in respect of complaints by the public regarding private contractors?
To be sure, I am therefore only requesting that the department publish the data and information it does actually hold in respect of all complaints it received during this period in which this said data and information would have been shared by the private contractors with the department, in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act, and the DWP`s fiduciary obligations.
After all, this would have been a legal requirement of the contract and therefore the DWP would have a fiduciary requirement to be made publicly accountable for the expenditure of all public money in respect of welfare provision to Parliamentary accounts and welfare committees, etc.

Yours sincerely,

declan murray

no-reply@dwp.ecase.co.uk on behalf of DWP Health Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear Declan Murray,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 13th
December.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'RE: Complaints to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions regarding abusive behaviour of private contractors'.
In your response to my request you say that: ". . [T]he information that the provider holds in relation to complaints is the
departments [sic] information...."
In other words, the department has claimed proprietary ownership of all the data the private providers hold in relation to complaints made by claimants and therefore controls all the data collected by the providers.
As the terms and conditions of contracts between the DWP and private contractors would have required compliance with this legal requirement then any confidential data of claimants- including any complaints- would surely have been shared with the DWP, in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act?
However, although you say you hold some of this data, except that this data is bundled up with all the other data of the providers and that you would have to contact each individual provider to get this information and that it would cost too much money to research and publish this information?
In which case, how does the department obtain and collate sensitive data regarding the provision of its services if access to certain categories of data are excluded by virtue of the fact that it is too expensive to publish this information?
If there is any accountability to Parliamentary public accounts committees then surely the state has a fiduciary obligation to at least provide accurate data in regard to the expenditure of public funds?
In which case, if there is any other information available in the public domain, please direct the public to any reports, documents and/or announcements available on website links?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

Yours faithfully,

declan murray

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no-reply@dwp.ecase.co.uk on behalf of DWP Health Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear Declan Murray,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 13th
January.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'RE: Complaints to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions regarding abusive behaviour of private contractors'.
Further to your response, I wish to clarify my request.
You say that the DWP is the data controller and therefore owns all the personal data of the claimants provided by the private contractors? Now, regardless of the relationship between the claimant and the provider, it is the DWP which is ultimately responsible for the collection and safeguarding of this data, including all complaints data made by claimants to the private provider.
The DWP uses the police power of the state to MANDATE claimants to attend welfare programmes, regardless of the personal circumstances of the claimant, under the threat of draconian sanctions, whilst shovelling hundreds of millions of pounds of TAXPAYERS MONEY into the coffers of private companies, whose only FIDUCIARY obligations are to the shareholders of those private companies.
If the business model of the provider is predicated on adopting aggressive posturing towards claimants (for example, including threats to call the police to bully and intimidate claimants into submission even when the claimants were lawfully attending and complying with the demands of their jobseeker agreements, etc.) then it begs the question: where is the duty of care toward the claimants and what about due diligence in respect of the behaviour of the contractors? After all, the private companies contracted to provide DWP services would surely be required to comply with the commercial terms and conditions of the contracts?
You say that the DWP has over 550 contracts with various private companies and that the data collated from these contractors is not centrally located but archived by each company/contractor and that it would cost too much money/take too much time to research and then publish this data- in other words, "Move along now, there`s nothing to see here."
Despite Prime Minister David Cameron`s statement about greater transparency and accountability in government, this information is buried under the expediency of cost because it is already out sourced to the private provider?
However, the secretary of state, as you have already stated, is THE DATA CONTROLLER- the office ultimately politically responsible to Parliamentary welfare and accounts committees.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

Yours faithfully,

declan murray

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.
 
By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 
 
If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Email FOI responses will be issued from [1][email address]
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk mail.  
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
please contact us.
 
[2]http://www.gov.uk/dwp
 
 

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